Automotive online reputation management is a cornerstone to dealership profitability. But many retailers tell me it’s a minefield. Tack on the fact that review sites (including social media) have matured into viable places to showcase what it’s like to do business with you and you’ve got a terrifying place that some would rather just not deal with.
Ignoring review sites today is detrimental to your business’ health.
But all the warnings in the world won’t serve to motivate retailers to take action if there is still a lot of fear about the online ecosystem.
I’d like to alleviate some of that fear today.
Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will – W. Clement Stone
Avoiding social media pitfalls has become a big business, which can invite misinformation. It’s difficult to know where to turn for the best advice.
For over ten years now, I’ve been singing the “social media song” and, up until recently, the needle hadn’t moved much, especially for auto retail. I am encouraged by how some salespeople are taking initiatives within their own networks.
Now that the auto industry is adapting to new, digital ways of selling cars, the opportunities are plentiful when it comes to automotive online reputation management. Retailers have support from more vendors now to help manage reviews timely and with very good outcomes.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople today!
5 Foundation Essentials for Automotive Online Reputation Management
Whether you’re new to social media and online review sites or you’ve been using them for some time, these five components will help you take action and leverage all you can from each platform.
1. Secure your reputation with a Social Media Policy
At Kruse Control, we advocate implementing an up-to-date policy for employee use of social media.
The line between companies and their employees on social media is steadily blurring. Organizations today need a social media policy that at once helps keep the brand’s reputation intact while also encourages employee participation online.
A social media policy outlines how an organization and its employees should conduct themselves online. This document helps to safeguard your brand’s reputation while also encouraging employees to responsibly share the company’s message.
Ideally, you’ll want to consult with the following stakeholders when creating a social media policy for your company:
- C-level (owners and managers)
- Corporate Counsel
- Social Media Strategist
Because social media moves fast, this policy should be considered a living document—ongoing updates will be necessary.
2. Written Social Media Strategy
Content is the atomic particle in all digital marketing.
Social media strategy defines how an individual or company will use social media to achieve its business goals, including the supporting platforms and tools it will use to achieve this.
At a basic level, it’s a statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve.
When defining what it takes to achieve social media success, we need to talk about strategy first. I was inspired to include this component because I receive questions like these from good people, many of whom are struggling to find answers:
- “Do I have to be on every social network?”
- “What type of things do I say on social media?
- “How often should I post?”
- “How do I get more followers?”
- “My boss asked me to take over the Facebook page and I don’t know where to start.”
- “Should I pay for social advertising?”
- “I’m in a boring industry. Do I still need social media?”
- “Do I need social media management tools?”
- “Should I outsource my social media?”
Frankly, it’s easy to get overwhelmed these days because the social media landscape is sadly, no longer a field of flowers sparsely populated. Today, social media is a dense, crowded, noisy, smoggy urban jungle.
The two giants, Facebook and Google, are hundreds of times bigger than they were when social media began. Things are much more complex making it more difficult to achieve results. When you having a solid social media strategy, it insulates you from making the mistakes that cost you your reputation.
3. Do a Social Media Audit
Whether your social media is in-house or outsourced, it’s often difficult to see where the gaps are between your current successes and where you need to be. Your inbox is full of tips, tools and hacks to “improve” results and it’s exhausting. A great way to remove the guesswork is with a social media audit.
A social media audit is a smart step because time and resources are often wasted trying to improve things that don’t need improving, while neglecting the things that really need attention.
A social media audit should include online review sites. It will help you design an internal process for capturing your happy, loyal customers’ feedback, thereby reaching your automotive online reputation management goals.
4. Build an Online Review Funnel
Word of mouth referrals have always been the world’s go-to source for finding trusted sellers and online ratings sites are where most people turn today.
Online reviews are insanely influential.
- 90% of consumers read online reviews.
- 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 86% will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews.
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more with a business that has positive reviews.
- 92% will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
Benefits of building an online review funnel:
- Systematically drive customers to one conversion funnel that routes them to the review sites you care about.
- Automatically ask, remind and guide happy customers through the funnel.
- Recover unhappy customers before they vent online.
- Analyze results daily for actionable insights to improve upon.
5. Engage with Social Customer Service
People increasingly turn to social media to engage with brands. Social has matured as a communication channel and people have blended it into their lives. They expect retailers to do the same.
Many businesses moved online in 2020 and are struggling to provide quality social media customer service. Don’t be one of them.
What is social customer service?
Social customer service is the practice of providing customer support through social channels to resolve customer questions or concerns. Social customer support is highly effective because it allows customers to reach your team on the platforms they already use.
While many companies now use social media regularly, only a fraction take social customer service seriously.
- 70% of people expect to message businesses more in the future for customer service questions.
- 64% of people would rather message than call a business.
Quality customer service – regardless of channel – relies on a meaningful, efficient, solution-focused exchange between retailers and their customers. The growing preference for social media as a communication channel requires your organization to re-think its customer service strategy.
Good social customer service strategy keeps your brand in the conversation and doesn’t allow malcontents and competitors to speak for you.
The stakes are higher today with automotive online reputation management.
There are myriad sources of information to help car shoppers make a decision on what to buy. What people say about your organization on social media and online ratings sites has never been more influential. Retailers need a plan to address customer comments – good and bad. That means being proactive instead of reactive with your automotive online reputation management.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople 👉 HERE.